Google and Amazon have both introduced their first takes on “music locker” services over the past couple of months.
But neither is particularly interesting, and both companies have left the door wide open for an Apple service to dominate.
Google’s beta music service, announced this week at the company’s I/O conference, is “miserable” and frustrating, according to one review. So far, it seems that the company has spent more time on the splash page than the music service.
Amazon’s cloud locker, unveiled in late March, still doesn’t seem very compelling, either. It still feels like a crappier version of Dropbox, but with no iPhone app. And it works best with Amazon’s MP3 store, which people don’t use nearly as often as Apple’s iTunes.
This leaves a big opening for Apple to launch something more complete later this year, with a better story for consumers about why they’d want to use it.
And because Apple has been working with the music labels on its service — whereas Google and Amazon both launched without licenses — Apple may be able to offer more features and content that Google and Amazon can’t.
Here’s one example: It could be much faster to get all of your music into the Apple service than Google’s or Amazon’s.
MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka explains how this “scan and match” system works: Instead of uploading all of your music manually — which could take days over a typical cable/DSL connection — Apple may be able to just import the simple list of songs you have in your iTunes library, and serve up copies of the music that it already has in its “cloud.” That’s easier and faster for everyone involved. And it’s just the beginning.
In many cases, it’s important to be first to market. But in this case, Apple hasn’t lost anything by being “late.” The competition, so far, isn’t really competition.